Dissecting scope and focus stacking

As a kid, I always had my trusty microscope at my desk (a tiny department store model). And I used it regularly. But I haven't had one of my own since my pre-teen years.

Since my camera does a poor job of capturing the tiny things--and because I really want to see the tiny things--I bought a dissecting scope. It was on sale 50% off. For the light, the LED ring works well.

The scope has a port for mounting a DSLR camera body, but those cost more money. So I'm using my smartphone with this Snapzoom adapter.

Then I needed a camera app with the right controls (an infinite focus depth setting is critical), so I'm using Open Camera. Be sure to turn off the flash and auto exposure setting so the brightness stays consistent across focus levels.

When taking pics for focus stacking, I start taking pics focused at the upper plane and then focus downward in small increments taking a photo at each depth. The specimen CANNOT move or twitch at all during this process otherwise the images won't align.

And then, for the focus stacking, I'm currently using PICOLAY software. Before each focus stacking session, be sure to set the option to "Add original name to py file", otherwise it gives the resulting file a generic name. And, this is CRITICAL, set stacking parameters to "Align images 1x". From there, it's automagical.

Lastly, I use the Windows Photos app for cropping and enhancement. The "Clarity" adjustment, in particular, really makes them pop.

Publicado el 29 de marzo de 2020 13:35 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton


Ahhhh.... good to see your equipment! The photos are great!

Publicado por kimberlietx hace más de 3 años

I love seeing these photos! I have enjoyed following your observations. Great info here.

Publicado por suz hace más de 3 años

Thanks so much, Russell. The only issue I have so far is I can't order the blankety-blank scope. Have tried several times on-line and get to "place order" then nothing happens. Hope they aren't out of stock or closed due to COVID19 cuz I need that scope (especially at 50% off)!

Although I've never thought of getting one, 2 researchers in the past year have asked me to get one for specific moth raising. @marcepstein told me it was really cool to watch Limacodidae larvae "mature" within the weeny transparent egg.

As I don't use a phone, is the Open Camera a phone app only? Does there need to be something comparable for my "real" camera?

Publicado por krancmm hace más de 3 años

Wonderful!!! I've got my new Christmas list item.

Publicado por sambiology hace más de 3 años

@krancmm, if you have a DSLR body, you can purchase an adapter that attaches to the third tube. But if the lens doesn't detach from the camera, there's really no way to attach it. They have a toll free phone number on the contact us page.

Publicado por pfau_tarleton hace más de 3 años

@pfau_tarleton Thanks, Russell for the info. I actually do have a decent dSLR body I rarely use now (too much weight w/ lens for my creaky age), but would certainly be great for scope work. Now I'm glad I didn't sell it. Will call them tomorrow.

Publicado por krancmm hace más de 3 años

@krancmm, if you get in touch, be sure to ask them what adapter you need or your DSLR camera body. And one more thing...you'll want the LED ring light: https://www.amscope.com/white-adjustable-144-led-ring-light-illuminator-for-stereo-microscope-camera.html

Publicado por pfau_tarleton hace más de 3 años

@pfau_tarleton Hmmm, good thing the scope is on sale as the peripherals needed are starting to add up :) Didn't your original comment on the post say it just needed the scope, the snap adapter for phone and free focus-stacking? If so, maybe I'll use my phone instead!

Publicado por krancmm hace más de 3 años

Yep, and the DSLR adapters are a hundred bucks! Ouch!

Publicado por pfau_tarleton hace más de 3 años

One of my university teachers uses this methodic (you can auto-translate it) https://www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera/rus/makarovf.htm
It's an old page from 2004, but results of latest years are like this: https://www.zin.ru/Animalia/Coleoptera/images/kv_mak/omalisus_fontisbellaqua_akm.jpg

I adore people stacking photos, hope it can be useful for you!

Publicado por marina_gorbunova hace más de 3 años
Publicado por kimberlietx hace alrededor de 3 años

Great journal post! Thanks!

Publicado por baxter-slye hace más de 2 años

Thanks for the tips. Especially the focus stacking. I didn't think about that. I'm planning to get a dissecting scope at some point. I have a dSLR. I think I want to get a scope that has a place to attach the camera on top so I can use both eyes on the microscope.

Publicado por lappelbaum hace alrededor de 2 años

@lappelbaum, depending on what you're doing, a macro lens on your camera might be as good and more flexible (can photograph live things easier). The dissecting scope requires focus stacking because the depth of field is paper thin--and focus stacking on a scope requires the subject not move even a tiny bit.

Publicado por pfau_tarleton hace alrededor de 2 años

I have done some macro photography for iNat but I want to get photos of things with detail too small for my camera. My specimens will be dead. I have some already preserved waiting for me to get better equipment.

I've used a dissecting microscope before but I didn't have to take photos. I was the one doing the IDing and then just taking a count and sometimes sorting into different jars/vials. I did have to dissect some of them to get my ID down to species.

Publicado por lappelbaum hace alrededor de 2 años

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